Entertainment » Celebrities

Life in the Reality Spotlight :: A Conversation with Todd Chrisley

by Steve Duffy
EDGE Media Network Contributor
Wednesday Jun 5, 2019

Todd Chrisley is not your traditional patriarch. He's a self-made millionaire and entrepreneur. Together with his wife of nearly 20 years, Julie, the brash Southerner raises his kids with a tough, brutally honest parenting style. His razor-sharp wit and business savvy creep into his parenting as well. His family and parenting style has been put on display for seven years in his USA Network reality show "Chrisley Knows Best," and EDGE caught up with him to find out more about his experience having his life televised.

EDGE: Why choose reality TV as your platform to reach the public?

Todd Chrisley: I don't think that I chose reality television as my platform, I think that it chose us. The show was pitched to me by Annie Kate Pons. She thought that our family had such a huge dynamic that we were made for television. My first reaction was 'I am not interested in it.' I am from the South and I am more conservative in my approach when it comes to living my life. I wasn't interested in putting all my dirty laundry on the front porch for all to see. The seventh season is on now and the show has been received more like a comedy than reality. I have moments where it is not funny, this is just what is happening in my life.

EDGE: How much of the show is perception vs. reality?

Todd Chrisley: We get that all the time. What you see if what you get. Everything that we are doing is what we are filming. We are not given a script telling us what to do or say. You can't script the stuff that is on our show. You can't script some of the dumb stuff my kids do. If you were scripting it, you would want your kids to come across as brilliant and making great choices all the time. That is just not who we are. Real life is about the good, bad and ugly.

EDGE: How has the show changed your family? Do fear any negative that it may have on your children?

Todd Chrisley: I think that it has brought us closer together. We now know who we can trust and not trust in our very small circle. I think that you go through life trusting all. I was never raised to live my life always questioning what someone's motives were. My kids have had to learn that the hard way whether it be through people they have dated or through friendships. Julie and I not so much, because we have already had a lot of the bruises and bumps that our kids are going to have. This show has given us the freedom to love ourselves for exactly who we are without ever allowing someone else's opinion to change us.

EDGE: Your one-liners are great. Where'd you get them?

Todd Chrisley: I lot of it is what just pops in my head or what I grew up hearing. I grew up in the deep South and have aunts and uncles who were at my home every day of my life. My mother, who is a character, and the things that she says.

EDGE: I love that you embrace the rumors of being gay.

Todd Chrisley: Is Todd really gay or bisexual? Those people who are questioning it, they are saying it as if it was a negative or as if it is something that I should be ashamed of. It only becomes powerful if the person who is saying it succeeds in shaming me. I am would not be ashamed if I fell in love with a man, but that was not the path for me. I have only been in love with one woman and that is my wife, Julie. I haven't laid down with a man and if I chose to it would be my business and no one else's. When the show started that was the one thing that everyone grabbed on to. Everyone wrote about it and questioned me about it. I think because people thought I was supposed to be ashamed of it that's why they asked. I was just grateful that they thought I could get laid on both sides of the fence.

EDGE: Besides you, your mom, Faye, is my favorite person on the show. Is she really that funny?

Todd Chrisley: The show has given my mother a level of confidence that she has never had in her life. Yes, she is really that funny in real-life. She is the queen of great one-liners.

EDGE: What can you tell us about your spinoff "Growing Up Chrisley?

Todd Chrisley: It is going to be a show about outside of our nest. It's going to be about Chase and Savannah pursuing their dreams. Savannah has a cosmetic line, a clothing line, and a fragrance line that she wants to grow. Chase is pursuing acting and working on his real estate. It's them out trying to do things on their own terms and support themselves. My only hope is that they will contribute something positive to society, but with a camera for everyone to watch.

EDGE: Can you tell me something most people don't know about you?

Todd Chrisley: Is there really anything that the world doesn't already know about me [he laughs]? I think people may be surprised that I really don't care what others think of me. Also, some people might find a little bit shocking is that the older I get, the more self-aware and self-conscious I have become about whether or not I am doing enough for the country that I live in and for the people that need help the most. I want to be a voice for those who don't have one.

EDGE: What do you hope viewers enjoy most about the show?

Todd Chrisley: l hope that when the viewers tune into "Chrisley Knows Best," that they will feel better after watching us. I hope that we were able to give them 30 minutes of laughter and reflection.

EDGE: Will there be a season 8?

Todd Chrisley: I hope so! Lord knows my family could fill another season.

Season 7 of "Chrisley Knows Best" is now airing on the USA Network. For more information on Chrisley Know Best visit, www.usanetwork.com/chrisleyknowsbest

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